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‘Where is the evidence?’: Fife business leader says move to Tier 3 is unjustified

Fife Chamber of Commerce chief executive Alan Mitchell.
Fife Chamber of Commerce chief executive Alan Mitchell.

A Fife business leader has claimed placing the region under Tier 3 restrictions is an unjustified, over-cautious approach.

Fife Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Alan Mitchell said trading was being restricted without any evidence regarding the causes of coronavirus transmission.

Mr Mitchell described Tuesday’s announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as “a bitter pill to swallow”, despite the extension of the UK Government’s two main business support schemes.

“The concern is that it is the extension of these schemes rather than the scientific data on Covid spread in Fife that has driven the Scottish Government’s decision to place us in Tier 3,” he said.

Mr Sturgeon said the number of positive cases in Fife had soared by 40% in the week to November 6 and was on a sharply rising trajectory.

She added: “The advice of the chief medical officer and national clinical director is that level two restrictions may well not be sufficient to slow down and reverse increases of this magnitude, and as a result an early move to level three was strongly recommended.”

However, Mr Mitchell responded: “Consistently we have seen business trading restricted without any evidence showing that their business activities are a major cause of transmission.

‘A stark warning to us all’: Fifers urged to follow new Tier 3 guidance to drive down Covid-19 rates

“Where is the evidence that shows that people in Fife having a drink while they eat a meal in a restaurant or going to their local bingo hall is driving dangerous rises in the level of infections?

“The over cautious approach being adopted by the First Minister is not justified in Fife and poses a real risk to Scotland, not just to the economy but to the long-term health and wellbeing of the population from the employment, public finance and non-Covid physical and mental health fallout from the harsh measures being adopted to tackle Covid.

“There is no way forward that doesn’t involve health and economic harm to someone but the harms from Covid and the harms caused by the economic and social measures taken to control it must both be measured, considered and weighed up before taking far reaching decisions.

“If that analysis has been undertaken and it clearly demonstrates that firm action to tackle Covid is the lesser of the two evils we face then we should see this evidence  and we can all get 100% behind it.

“If that analysis hasn’t been undertaken, then our governments, here in Scotland and across the rest of the UK, are taking a big risk with our futures.“

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